agent ai book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

Kill with a Borrowed Knife: or Agent Ai is a spy thriller and takes place primarily in Russia, China and Hong Kong. George Quant is a journalist turned spy. He burned his bridges in Moscow and is in China, on the run from some very dangerous people.

When George arrives in China he is met by the correct people, who help him get settled and also immediately find him a job to do. It just so happens that a wife of an important party man may have some important information. They want Quant, now known as Ai, to try and get close to her and pump her for information.

It also turns out that Quant is on the run from the Russians because he stole from them. He snatched a person and the secret code he was writing. This also put his British handler (whom he was in love with) into a sticky place. Mostly because he didn’t deliver either of the items to her.

This was a decent book but George bugged me. Everyone seemed to think he was a great agent, but what I saw throughout the book was that he was a guy who just got lucky. He did have some talent and skill that kept him alive, but he didn’t seem to be able to stay out of trouble–even when he really should have been looking out for and expecting it to show up. He was captured three separate times and only one of them should have been a real surprise. His escapes were also mostly luck and had nothing to do with his personal abilities.

The plot was actually fairly intricate and for quite a bit of the book I was having a very hard time figuring out what was happening. The story was filled with flashbacks and they were very necessary for helping paint the picture that Quant found himself in. It was also mostly of his own making.  I didn’t rate this book very highly mostly because of the confusion for the first half of the book, and Quant’s general habit of poor decisions that when they worked out, made him look like a genius.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Michael Wreford. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.